Are you trying to call someone, but getting a message similar to the following?

“The person you’re trying to reach is not accepting calls at this time.” Or, “The person you are calling cannot accept calls at this time.”

This is known as an ‘intercept message’, and can be quite alarming to experience!

But what actually causes this message to play, and why would a person not be accepting a calls? The truth is, it usually occurs for reasons that most people wouldn’t expect!

So, in this article, I’ll be going over 7 different reasons why the person you’re trying to reach would be unable to accept calls, and what can be done to solve it.

1. Their Service Is Temporarily Inactive

Person On Mobile Phone

Many people believe that if they receive a message saying that someone isn’t accepting calls, than it must mean that they’re blocked. However, this usually isn’t the case?

Instead, the most common cause is simply that the person’s service is simply inactive at the moment.

This could be caused by failure to pay their cell phone bill on time, for example.

Or, it’s also possible that they’re traveling internationally, and do not have data roaming turned on.

Regardless of the reason, their service is temporarily turned off. Yet, their phone number has not yet been turned over or reassigned to someone else.

And since their service isn’t active, they will be unable to accept calls until it is reinstated.

2. Their Number Is Being Ported To Another Cellular Provider

Next, it’s also possible that their phone number is currently being transferred over to another cellular provider.

This is rare and doesn’t happen frequently, but I spoke with an AT&T staff member, and they told me this was one reason why the phone number wouldn’t be able to accept calls.

According to JustCall, it takes around 5-7 business days to port a cell phone number within the United States, and up to 7-10 business days in Canada.

However, if issues occur, it can take as long as 14 business days to complete.

During this time, any attempts to call that number will be unsuccessful. Instead, all callers will receive the intercept message stating that the person they’re trying to reach is unable to accept calls at this time.

In this instance, it may be worth contacting the person via another method (such as Facebook Messenger or Instagram) to ask them if they’re currently switching cellular providers.

That way, you can know for sure whether or not this is the cause!

3. They Are Unable To Accept Calls, And Do Not Have Voicemail Set Up

This one is rare in the modern age, as most iPhones and Android phones have voicemail set up by default.

If the person is using an older cell phone or a landline however, you may be told that they’re not accepting calls if two conditions are met:

  1. The person is not able to receive the call (due to not having service, their phone being off, the landline being disconnected, etc.)
  2. They do not have a voicemail box set up.

Since the provider can’t send you to voicemail, they will simply play the intercept message stating that they are not currently accepting calls.

Again, this reason is only really relevant if the person is using a very old cell phone, or a landline.

If they have voicemail set up and their voicemail box is simply full, you will receive a different message instead.

4. The Person Is Driving, And Their Phone Is Set Up To Deny Calls While Driving

This is another rare issue that I didn’t know about, until I started digging deep into AT&T’s forums!

It turns out that some phones can detect when you’re driving, and refuse to let calls come through at all when that is the case.

This is different than simply denying the call (which would send the caller to voicemail.) It is also different than Do Not Disturb mode, which simply silences and hides the call to avoid disturbing the person receiving it.

Instead, certain phones reject the call entirely, providing a message stating that the person you’re trying to reach is not accepting calls at this time. However, if they have a Bluetooth device enabled that would allow them to talk hands-free, then the call is allowed to go through.

Thankfully, everything should go back to normal once they’re done driving, and your call should be completed without any issues.

5. They Have Blocked Your Number At The Carrier Level

Blocked, Blocking Someone Concept

This is the conclusion most people jump to when they hear that the person is not accepting calls. And the truth is, being blocked can cause this message to play – however, it’s not necessarily the most common reason.

In order for this message to play, you can’t just be blocked on the phone itself – at least not on iPhone or Android phones. Instead, the person has to specifically request that you be blocked at the carrier level.

Otherwise, what usually happens when you’re blocked is it simply goes straight to voicemail, or it rings as normal before going to voicemail. Of course, any voicemail you left is never actually received, and the person will have no idea that you ever called.

So, how do you know if you’ve been blocked at the carrier level?

The easiest thing to do is simply try calling from another number. If the call goes through normally without being told that they’re not accepting calls, then chances are you are blocked on the original number.

Of course, you shouldn’t contact someone if you know you might have been blocked, and they don’t want to hear from you.

Still, this can be a great way to get to the root of the issue!

6. They’ve Lost Their Phone, And Requested The Carrier Block Calls

Another possibility is that they’ve lost their phone, and they’ve requested that their cellular provider block calls to their number.

This is done via a process called IMEI blocking. Essentially, this locks the SIM card, and prevents it from accessing the carrier’s network at all.

This means that not only will it not be able to receive calls, but it won’t be able to receive SMS / MMS messages, nor access the internet either.

Again, the best way to know whether or not this is the case is to try contacting them via another method, such as on social media.

However, if the carrier has implemented IMEI blocking for their number, they will be unable to accept any calls until the matter has been resolved, and their SIM card is usable again.

7. The Cellular Provider Is Experiencing A Technical Glitch

Finally, it’s also possible that their cellular provider is experiencing a technical glitch, that is preventing calls from going through.

This is extremely rare, but it has happened in the past!

Usually, this will affect a multitude of customers at once – not just one specific number.

So, it may be a good idea to search Twitter or other social media to see if anyone else online is talking about it.

If a lot of people seem to be experiencing the issue at once, than chances are this is the cause.


If you’re being told that the person you’re trying to reach is not accepting calls, than something is preventing the call from going through successfully.

This can be anything from their service being temporarily deactivated, to being blocked at the carrier level. However, there are a multitude of other possible causes as well, which have all been listed above.

I hope that you’ve found this article insightful, and you’ll manage to find out why the person you’re trying to reach is unable to accept calls. Chances are they’ll want to know why as well, so they can get the issue resolved as quickly as possible.

As always, if you have any other questions, ask them below and I’ll be happy to help.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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